After the closing of an Italian restaurant last summer, a new restaurant is now open in the basement of the Tallan Building on Martin Luther King Boulevard.
Leaders of Kitchen at Union Square are focusing on fresh food and sustainable practices. Their freezer is "tiny," and they are aiming to get many items from producers within a 300-mile radius.
"Every single thing we are doing is from scratch," said executive chef Matt Marcus, who has previously worked at Hennen's and been nationally recognized.
What: Wag and Wine, a grand opening celebration benefiting the Humane Educational Society
When: Thursday, Nov. 7, 6-8 p.m.
Where: 2 Union Square, Tallan Building
How much: $20 per ticket (seating is limited)
For tickets: Call 624-5302, extension 228, or click here (tickets must be purchased in advance)
The restaurant, which has food with French and Asian influences, opened to the public Monday. There are currently about 28 employees, and the team will eventually build to 40 or 50, general manager Wendell Barnes said.
Kitchen at Union Square is owned and operated by Culinard, the Culinary Institute of Virginia College School of Business and Health in Chattanooga, so students at the school will also get training there.
Each quarter, students do an internship of about six hours; and then after they graduate, they come back to work for about 11 weeks, Barnes said.
"As they are learning the techniques at school, they are going to see how they are applied in a real restaurant," he said.
The restaurant, which is located at 2 Union Square, Suite 39, 200 W. MLK Blvd., seats 92 people and has a separate banquet room that seats about 80, Barnes said.
Marcus said that sustainability practices—such as using the entire fish instead of wasting portions of it—are important to the restaurant's leaders.
And they aim to instill that in the students who work there. If they can do that, they can help spread the practices around the country because the students could take their skills anywhere in the nation, he said.
In September 2011, Italian native, businessman and chef Michele Doto opened Pasta Italia in that space. By August of 2012, operators closed the restaurant.
"Unfortunately, the business was not quite what we expected it to be, so we are kind of forced to close," Laura Derrick, the owner's wife, who also worked at the restaurant, said at the time.
But Barnes said that the marketing team behind the restaurant is great and that the connection with Culinard will help boost business.
"We are going to do cool stuff by teaming up with the chefs at Culinard ... They have a lot of talent," he said. "That will create excitement and buzz. The more we partner with the school, the bigger our imprint in Chattanooga will be."
Examples of menu items
—Roasted butternut squash soup: $6
—Classic Caesar salad with romaine, Parmesan and torn bread croutons: $7
—Parmesan truffle fries: $7
—Smoked crabcake with tomato skin, basil and au poivre beurre blanc: $12
—Union burger with bacon jam, grilled onions, red drago, fried green tomatoes, field greens and fries: $12
—Bone-in pork chop with sweet pea purée, smoked onion and parsley salad, and grain mustard bordelaise: $22
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